If you are wondering why my baby cries when I put her in a bassinet or crib? You are not alone; most babies do that. Read on to find out ways to make a bassinet more comfortable for your newborn, so they won’t cry as much.
Babies stayed in the most comfortable, warm, cozy place for 9 months and all of a sudden, they are brought in this world that is bright, noisy and a whole lot different than mother’s womb.
No wonder why they are crying all the time in the first few days after birth!!
The babies are most happy when they are snuggled to their mommies, but for an obvious reason mom can not snuggle their babies for 24/7. They do need a break both mentally and physically.
When a baby cries when you put her in crib or bassinet, first thing that goes through your mind, – Is bassinet comfortable enough for my baby? Or how can I make it more comfortable so baby sleep in the bassinet without crying?
While bassinets are already designed in a way that it provides maximum comfort and safety when babies sleep in the bassinet or crib.
If are still looking for ways to make a bassinet more comfortable for your newborn, read on.
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Safe Sleep for Babies: Safety is Priority
Approximately 3500 infants die annually in the United States from Sleep-related infant deaths. There are many reasons for death involving infants 12 months or younger including suffocation caused by pillows, stuff toys, thick quilts and/or overcrowding the baby’s sleeping space (1).
The American Academy of Pediatrics and CDC recommends a safe sleep environment that can reduce the risk of all sleep-related infant deaths.
Here are the recommendations for a safe sleep environment from this video,
- Supine positioning,
- Use of a firm sleep surface,
- Room-sharing without bed-sharing
- Avoidance of soft bedding and overheating.
According to these recommendations, if you can’t place additional item in the bassinet, what else can you do to make bassinet more comfortable for your newborn?
There are many things that you still can do to make your little one more comfortable, so they cry less.
So without further ado, let’s get into this.
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5 Ways to Make a Bassinet More Comfortable for your Newborn
When you are thinking about making bassinet comfortable for your baby, think like a baby. What your baby likes?
She wants to be with you. She likes your warmth, the way you smell, sense of security.
This is what you exactly want to do – create a virtual 4th trimester sensation and to so that you don’t need to add pillow or lovey or overcrowd your baby’s sleeping space.
Here are 5 tips to make bassinet more comfortable for your baby.
1. Keep Bassinet Next to your Bed
Your baby has spent 9 months in the coziest place and adjusting into new environment (a bassinet) takes some time.
A bassinet is designed to provide comfort, coziness, and warmth that baby needs. Only thing that bassinet is missing is your touch or feel.
This could be a reason why your baby is not falling asleep in the bassinet. If that is the case, bring bassinet next to your bed.
By doing so, your baby can feel you, hear you breathe and sense your presence nearby. This will only help baby fall asleep but keep them asleep for longer stretches of time at night.
Also, moving bassinet next to your bed helps both of you sleep better at night and helps fasten your postpartum recovery.
It is for this reason; many moms consider buying a bedside bassinet also called co-sleeper or co-sleeping bassinet.
These bassinets are kept right beside your bed and you can adjust the height of the bassinet to match with height of your mattress. This will allow you to reach to your baby without getting up from the bed.
Co-sleepers or so-sleeping bassinets are very convenient option for those who wants to keep baby at arm reach so for ease of soothing and feeding a baby at night and that too without breaching the safe sleep rules.
2. Swaddle Your Baby
Swaddling a baby has been a part of caring for babies from ages and there is no secret why it makes baby so comfortable.
It recapitulates how baby felt when inside the womb – snug and cozy. It has also been shown to help many babies to sleep batter.
Swaddling is particularly helpful for the babies with neurological problem or colic to keep them asleep for longer stretches of time. (look for references)
When your baby is swaddled, she is more likely to have an uninterrupted sleep as she is warm and cozy.
Another advantage of swaddling a baby is to keep them asleep on their back thereby reducing risk of SIDS. Swaddling helps babies who have trouble sleeping on their back because they startle themselves awake.
3. Make Bassinet Smell like you
It might surprise you that your baby is a very experienced sniffer, as the smell senses are mature by the end of first trimester. She is been sniffing everything you eat and drink in form of amniotic fluid smell and as a result she has a preference for smell as well.
An interesting research study of French mothers who drank an anise-flavored beverage during pregnancy published in 2002 found that their babies had a preference for the scent of anise after birth compared to babies whose mothers did not drink anise (2).
Another research study showed that babies preferred breast pad worn by their lactating mothers compared to pads worn by another lactating mother. In this study they evaluated baby’s head turning to locate food using breast pad worn by their mother’s vs other women (3).
This data clearly shows that baby loves the smell of their mothers the most. You may not like how you smell postpartum but take solace in knowing that your baby loves it.
Another research study noted that fussy infants stop crying when they were presented with their own mother’s odor (hospital gown worn by the baby’s mother) compared to when they were presented with odor of clean gown (4).
These results suggest that the practice of presenting the mother’s odor to a distressed infant is of clinical usefulness since it was capable of attenuating crying.
These results indicate that practice of presenting the mother’s odor to distress infants can be useful as it is capable of stopping crying.
We are going to use these facts to our advantage to make a bassinet more comfortable for your newborn.
To make bassinet smell like you, all you need to do is sleep on bassinets sheets for day or two before putting then on your baby’s bed. Or use your worn t-shirt and put it on your baby’s bassinet mattress like the way you put on pillow cover. T-shirt is usually snugly and tight on bassinet mattress, so it won’t create any sleep hazard for your baby. If you are uncomfortable doing this than you can always take the t-shirt off a bassinet mattress before baby goes to bed.
This will help baby to soothe in the bassinet as he finds himself closer to your smell. Worth a try, mama!!
4. Baby’s Sleeping Environment
If your baby cries when you put her in the bassinet, make sure she is safe and secure in her sleeping environment. If they are not feeling safe in their bassinet they won’t go to sleep. This do require some trial and error to find out what your baby likes.
You can start with adjusting baby room temperature, keeping light dim at night, right angle for sleep, baby may prefer rocking motion during sleep or music. You have to figure out what your baby prefers with some experimentation.
It does take some time but once you figure out what your baby prefers, both of you will be happy sleeper!!
5. Types of Bassinet
For new parents, there is nothing better than seeing baby sleep through the night. A comfortable and versatile bassinet can make a huge difference in turning fussy sleeper to happy sleeper at night or napping during the day.
There are variety of the bassinets available in the marker with very impressive features. They do vary in price, quality and features. Some bassinets only rocks while other -Halo bassinet, rotates and swivels with additional inbuilt feature of nightlight, soothing vibration, sleep sounds and feeding timer.
There are also more advanced bassinets like – SNOO Smart Sleeper bassinet, which is like sleeping luxury for your baby. It response to baby’s cry with movement and just the right amount of white noise, pretty impressive!
More advanced features do come with higher price tag. There are also budget friendly bassinets that do the job well. Before purchasing a bassinet, keep following thing in mind
Must have baby bassinet features
- JPMA certified
- Firm mattress
- Tight fitting sheet
- Not overly padded four-sided sleeping area
- Locking mechanism if it rocks or swivel
Extra baby bassinet features
- Adjustable height
- Adjustable base that can under bed to save space
- Storage space
- Wheels so it can be moved from one room to another
- Side that can be folded or lowered for nighttime easy access
- Inbuilt vibration mode, sleep sound or night light.
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Frequently asked Qustions
Why does my Baby Cry every time I Put him Down?
After being in comfort of warm womb for nine months, no wonder baby craves the comfort from their parents. The new world that they have brought into is too bright and full of new sounds, sights, scents and it takes time to get used to it. They need hugging, holding, snuggling and warmth of human touch to feel safe and secure.
While we have all modern technology -like bassinet that response to babyès cry, but responding to babyès need is what they need during the first 3 months. Take solace in knowing that it wonèt last forever, itès a phase and it will pass too.
Why Does my Baby Hate his Bassinet?
It is very common questions that most moms have. So if your baby does not like bassinet, you are not alone. Babies are used to being held, bundled up and most importantly sleeping in the motion. They have slept in motion for 9 months, so it is hard for them when you ask them to sleep in something that is flat and not moving. The bassinet with motion feature may help you overcome this issue.
Regardless, they need time to get used to a bassinet. Keep doing what you are doing and one day they will get used to sleeping in bassinet.
How do you Calm a Fussy Baby at Night?
There are many reasons for nighttime fussiness like growth spurt, low milk letdown, gassy baby, colic or over stimulated or overtired baby. Calming a fussy baby is like a rocket science that no one is able to master.
But there are certain things that you can do to calm a fussy baby at night.
- Swaddle them – it gives them feel of safety and security
- Baby wear them – Being close to your heartbeat is very comforting for them
- Reduce stimulation – keep the light dim, turn down noises and swaddle them for their nervous system to calm down
- Have a solid bedtime routine – keep bedtime routine consistent everyday – massage, bath, feed, play, sleep. Babies do like routine so if you don’t have yet, set up a routine and stick to it.
- 5 S Soothing method– Dr Karp’s 5 S soothing method – swaddling, side/stomach position, shushing, swinging and sucking works wonder to calm a fussy baby. Here is how it is done.
Do you still need help to get your Baby Sleep through the Night?
There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to calm a fussy baby at night. If you are feeling like this, then you are not alone.
Teaching a newborn baby to fall asleep might be difficult to deal with, but it actually is not that complicated. You just have to learn the basics of Infant sleep.
Even if you buy the most technologically advance bassinet like SNOO, you will not get your newborn to fall asleep unless you know the inner workings of how to get newborns to sleep.
There are many parents who jump directly into specific sleep training method without learning these basic concepts of sleep and end up set themselves up for failure.
Read this article to learn the fundamental of newborn sleep. This article covers tips to start healthy sleep habits once you bring your newborn home from the hospital.
First few months with newborn is physically and mentally exhausting for new parents. These tips along with creating a solid bedtime routine will help you get baby to fall asleep and keep them asleep for longer duration.
How did you make a bassinet more comfortable for your baby? Do you have any tips? Please leave your comments below.
- Moon RY; Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Evidence Base for 2016 Updated Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment. Pediatrics. 2016;138(5):e20162940. doi:10.1542/peds.2016-2940
- Schaal B, Marlier L, Soussignan R. Human foetuses learn odours from their pregnant mother’s diet. Chem Senses. 2000;25(6):729-737. doi:10.1093/chemse/25.6.729
- Macfarlane A. Olfaction in the development of social preferences in the human neonate. Ciba Found Symp. 1975;(33):103-117. doi:10.1002/9780470720158.ch7
- Sullivan RM, Toubas P. Clinical usefulness of maternal odor in newborns: soothing and feeding preparatory responses. Biol Neonate. 1998;74(6):402-408. doi:10.1159/000014061